by Robin Matheson © 2003

Kneeling on a pile of shoes in the darkness of her closet, Nora leaned forward and adjusted the wooden slats of the closet door so that she had a clear view of her bedroom. Through the narrow slit she could see the closed door to the hallway, her dresser, her nightstand and her bed. But more important than seeing her bedroom furniture was being able to see what was on the bed -- a red leather bound book whose corner peeked out from under a fluffy pillow, her personal diary, given to her by her Grandma last year for her 15th birthday. Every day she wrote all her thoughts and feelings in it and every night she hid the book to protect her writings from spying eyes. Not that it did her any good. She'd caught her sister four different times reading her journal. It didn't matter to Becky that "Private - Keep Out" was stenciled on the front and seemed only to incite her curiosity. Nora frowned, thinking that she should have labeled it Algebra or Chemistry. Perhaps then Becky would have left it alone.

"Well it doesn't matter now," Nora thought. "Old Witch Nan's spell will stop her going through my stuff."

Nora sat back and nibbled on her fingernail while she waited and thought about what her boyfriend Tom had said about spells having unintended consequences. Maybe that applied to other spells, but not to a simple book enchantment. What could go wrong with that? This spell was going to be the answer to her sneaky sister problem. She just wished that Becky would hurry up with the sneaking since her legs were going numb sitting in this closet. Nora pinched and rubbed her calves, trying to get the circulation going.

"Nora! Nora!"

Nora listened to the high-pitched voice of her little sister calling from the hallway, but didn't answer. Instead, she maneuvered herself closer to the louvered closet doors and peered out.

"Nora?" Becky said, opening the bedroom door and poking her head into the room.

Seeing the room empty, she stepped in and closed the door behind her. Tiptoeing to the dresser she eased the top drawer out and sticking her hands into the drawer she rummaged through the contents. After a moment, she turned to face the room, empty handed and frowning.

Nora glared through the narrow slits. "That's right. It's not there. I moved it, you sneaky twit." Becky shoved the drawer closed and her eyes flicked around the room, her gaze touching on the dresser, nightstand, and finally the bed, at which point she smiled. She bounded for the bed, tossing pillows off onto the floor and grasping the red leather journal peeking out from under the headboard pillow. Nora leaned closer to the slats eager to see how the spell would take effect. Nan hadn't said exactly what the spell would do, only that Becky would never open the book again and that no lasting harm would come to her.

Becky picked up the book and hopped on to the comforter, her feet dangling over the edge of the bed. Nora's shoulders tightened and a corresponding flush of anger crept up her neck. Knowing Becky read her diary and actually witnessing it were two different things. She felt like crashing through the door and pummeling Becky. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath to calm herself. Hitting Becky wouldn't stop her sister's spying. She'd only become sneakier. The spell was the better plan. Nora opened her eyes and grimly watched Becky put the book on her lap and open it.

The book coughed. Becky gave a startled squeak and leapt off the bed. The book tumbled to the floor and said in a smug sing-song voice,

"Nosy. Nosy. Nosy. Trying to read the prosy. Should have asked permission first, Snoopy Girl, you're now accursed." Becky ran to the door and bounced off the wood paneling, falling backwards to the floor. Nora wasn't sure what had caused her to do that until she saw Becky's face. Her nose had grown six inches, sticking out like the wooden nose of Pinocchio. Nora laughed. Her nosy sister now had a lengthy nose to go with her nosiness. Perfect. Nora opened the closet door and had the satisfaction of seeing Becky jump.

"What happened?" Becky said, rubbing her bruised nose.

"It's because you were bad. I told you not to read my diary."

"Make it go away Norrie." "I can't. The spell lasts for a week." "I hate you. I'm telling mom," Becky said and ran out of the room, one hand held protectively over her elongated nose.

"It's your own fault," Nora yelled after her.

She slammed her bedroom door shut. Mom would be mad, but not having to worry about Becky sneaking through her belongings was worth the trouble she'd be in with her parents. Nora picked up her journal and pen off the floor and sprawled across the bed, setting the book in front of her. She grinned as she uncapped the pen. This was going to be the best entry ever. She opened the book, but before she could put pen to page, the book spoke,

"Trying to read the prosy, Little Miss Nosy?" Nora slammed the book shut, threw it to the floor and jumped on top of it, but the book, its voice now muffled said,

"Sneaky girl, because you peeked, Here's a curse that lasts a week." Horrified, Nora clapped her hands over her lengthening nose. On the floor under her feet, the book continued to sing in a muted voice, "Nosy. Nosy. Nosy."

x x x

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